Two Months, No Sugar

So, it occurred to me this morning that I have not updated you on how my “sugar fast” is progressing.

To put it bluntly, it’s going beautifully. I feel better, and it’s easier for me to notice when my immune system reacts to something I’ve eaten.

I wasn’t eating a lot of sugar before the “sugar fast.” Certainly I was consuming MUCH less sugar than the average person. As a general rule, I make all of our meals from scratch. No, that’s not right. My family makes all of our meals from scratch. I’m not the only one who cooks. My husband and kids share in the cooking. Each of us has assigned cooking days. But, either way, we don’t use many canned, frozen or processed products, and we don’t use sugar in baking or cooking. Before the “sugar fast” the only sugar I was eating were twice-a-month chocolate with the kids, once-a-week coffee shop coffee, again with the kids, and the occasional cheesecake or pumpkin pie made with sugar. I also ate a LOT of fresh fruit.

For the first couple of weeks, I intentionally avoided all fruit. That was difficult. Fruit is probably one of my favorite foods. I very much could eat nothing but fruit and feel very satisfied. However, that much fruit causes/contributes to systemic yeast overgrowth, and simply is not healthy long term. I had severe sugar cravings. We’re talking the kind of cravings that cause you to be able to focus on nothing else.

I increased my fat intake, and reduced my protein intake just a bit. Why? More fat caused the body to feel more satisfied, and when you eat more protein than your body needs, it converts to sugar. That sugar conversion causes the exact same hormonal response as eating a candy bar. Not the hormonal response I wanted.

Increasing fat and decreasing protein helped calm the cravings, but they didn’t go away entirely. So, I added physical activity to my craving management. Anytime I started craving sugar I went for a walk instead of giving into the craving. Some days it was too cold to walk outside, so I put an e-book on my phone, and paced the house, being careful to stay out of the kitchen, and away from the fruit bowl. The extra walking did a lot to help stop the craving, and increase my daily step count.

Sometime in the middle of January one of the kids wanted cheesecake. So, I spent an afternoon perfecting my no-sugar cheesecake recipe. I’ve been toying with this recipe off-and-on for at least two years, but never fully committed myself to perfecting it. It’s was easier to simply use half the sugar called for in the recipe and move on with my world. This time, however, I was determined to find the perfect substitute. And, I think it did. I’ve tested the new recipe with the kids, and a few friends and most like it.

Another hurdle solved.

I replaced the chocolate I shared with my kids twice a month with string cheese. I still bought the chocolate for the kids, but I bought string cheese for myself. One morning, my daughter and I stopped for chocolate and string cheese on the way home from band. Ten minutes after I ate the string cheese, my hands and feet were swollen. I had a reaction to the cheese. There was nothing added to the cheese that could have caused it. Ingredients were milk and enzymes. So, I must have been reacting to the milk itself. It’s not the first time, I’ve reacted to dairy. I decided to cut milk also.

Toward the beginning of February I got hit with a massive ice cream craving. When I reflected on it, I realized it wasn’t the sugar, or even the milk that I wanted. It was the creamy texture.

So, I looked into goat’s milk. Most people who react to cow’s milk do not have a reaction to goat milk. Instead of making ice cream, I tossed about a cup of frozen blueberries into the Ninja along with about two tablespoons of goat’s milk, and a little bit of stevia. I processed that and added enough water so that it would blend to the right consistency.

It was good, but not perfect. So, I tried something else.

The next and final attempt was one cup of frozen blueberries and one small, very ripe avocado with some stevia. I tossed those in the ninja and processed.

It was PERFECT. It came out with the dense and super creamy consistency of a good gelato without any sugar or dairy.

Plus, it’s incredibly healthy — full of antioxidants, vitamins and good fats.

This has become my favorite frozen desert, by far. I’m going to try different varieties with the avocado base.

Originally, I had planned this “sugar fast” to only last until the end of March. But I notice enough of a difference in how I feel that I’m going add sugar to the list of things I simply do not eat at all- EVER. Like flour, corn, MSG, vegetable oil, tofu, legumes, and a couple other things. No more occasional sugar treats for me. I know better.

As for the dairy, I’ve tested it since the string cheese. Every time I consume cheese, yogurt or the like, I experience inflammation. Butter doesn’t seem to bother me, probably because it’s all fat. So, I’m keeping butter, but getting rid of all other cow’s milk products. I’ve replaced cream cheese with soft goat’s milk cheese. It’s more expensive, so I eat it less often., but I like the sharp flavor better.

I don’t miss the sugar or the diary. I’ve found healthy replacements for both.

Tell me your thoughts.